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Vanilla Sex 101: A Quick and Easy Guide to Spicing Up Your Sex Life

By Jayne Renault

Is vanilla sex your go-to bedroom vibe and now you're looking to spice things up? Maybe you’re in a long-term relationship and want to stoke the spark between you and your familiar flame? In this guide, we tackle what vanilla sex is, why we love it, and how to make the most of it.

Vanilla sex refers to any plain, conventional sex that is not kinky. This term made popular by the kink community was simply meant to distinguish between a BDSM scene and sex without any kink involved. This can vary a lot depending on what you define as “kink” and unfortunately, some people use it to mean “boring.” But we’re here to set the record straight: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with vanilla sex and liking it. 

If you’re enjoying the sex you’re having, you don’t need anything more than that. Vanilla is a spice itself after all. A very flavorful and popular one at that! As long as you and your partner are having a good time, it’s everything it needs to be for you. Getting exactly what you want and enjoying it is nothing to balk at. Plus, just because it's vanilla doesn't mean it can't be super steamy. The hottest sex often comes from the trust and intimacy we build with a partner over time. 

That said, it can be a lot of fun to sprinkle in some extra flavors to complement that sweet, familiar foundation too! Here are seven tips on how to make your vanilla sex life all the more delicious.

1. Share your sexual bucket list

Create a sexy list of sexual fantasies -- big or small! -- then share them with each other. Maybe you’ve been thinking about exploring blindfolds or butt play. Perhaps you’re curious about what it would be like to have a threesome or visit a BDSM club. From there you can compare what you’d definitely want to try together, what you’d prefer to keep as a fantasy, and what you might be open to exploring under the right circumstances. 

Not only is making the list fun but simply talking through your desires together can be enough to really heat things up. Getting vulnerable and open in your communication can be intimidating and also super rewarding, both in and out of the bedroom, so write on!

2. Switch up the routine

At this stage in your relationship, you may have figured out the routine that works really well for you. And that’s great! But if you’re looking to spice things up, simply by switching up the time, location, or position of your sex session can really shake up how you go into it and what you get out of it.

If you usually hook up at night, try setting your alarm a little earlier than usual to indulge in a little morning session. Unwind at the end of the day with a sensual joint shower. Go through a list of positions and pick one you’ve never tried before. 

Whatever you choose, it may end up with your laughing off and going back to what you know best. But allowing some room for play and experimentation is sure to awaken your imagination and open you up to more possibility.

3. Use dirty talk

Incorporating dirty talk into your sexy time doesn’t have to be complicated and can come in many forms. Simply taking turns describing what you’d like to do or have done to you as a foreplay game over dinner is a great place to start.  

If even that seems too intimidating, then you can always start with a text. Firing off a little “I was just thinking about that time you did X…” or “I’d really love to do X to you later…” can go a long way. It takes away some of the nerves that can come with looking someone in the eye. And makes for some incredibly hot middle-of-the-day foreplay that gives you something to look forward to at the end of the workday.

4. Take a chance and roll the dice

Sometimes it can be daunting to start getting creative. The nerves about sounding silly can shut your imagination down and you find that you’re drawing a blank. If that happens, don’t worry! We have the cheat codes for that. 

There are tools designed specifically to get you over that shyness hump and have fun doing it. A deck of cards with sexy prompts or a set of kinky dice can be the perfect ice breaker and inspiration to get you in the mood to try something new.

5. Enjoy Porn Together 

By nature, porn is crafted to arouse its audience. Watching or reading porn with your partner can do a lot more than that. It gives you the opportunity to learn more about your own preferences as well as your partner’s. 

Use your fave porn video or erotic story as inspiration for what you’re going to do together in that moment, or as a creative way to introduce one of your fantasies to them. 

6. Use a vibrator 

Sex toys are an awesome way to enhance the pleasure potential. And especially for anyone with a clit, adding a vibrator to the mix increases their chance of orgasm significantly. 

If you’re brand new to toys, start out with a versatile, beginner-friendly vibrator. And if you already have a go-to toyfriend that you enjoy during your solo sessions, take the plunge and introduce that sex toy to your partner.

If you’re worried about intimidating your partner or they are skeptical about including the vibrator, remember: sex toys are pleasure enhancers, not partner replacements. And a good partner should want you to have the most and best orgasms possible.

7. Try Stranger Role Play

One of the most popular fantasies across the board is having an encounter with a hot stranger. So why not try being each other’s mysterious new lover?

Pick a place and pretend you’re just meeting for the first time. Set your scene and character -- maybe you’ll be an alternate version of yourself, or maybe you’ll try on a different role all together -- and just see where the game takes you. Enjoy the thrill of being wooed by someone new with all the satisfaction that comes with being with someone who already knows your body so well.

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